Skiing: For the health of it

By Jayson Jacoby, The Baker City Herald

By LISA BRITTON

For the Baker City Herald

Temperatures below 10 degrees on Friday didn't deter more than 200 youngsters from bundling up and hitting the slopes at Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort.

Of course, the cold doesn't matter much when you're maneuvering skis and snowboards up and down the hill.

Every Friday, students from Baker, John Day, North Powder and Cove board buses for the program "Ski for the Health of It" that began Jan. 6. It is for students from grades 1 to 12.

A grant from the Leo Adler Community Foundation brought the cost down to $80 per child for eight weeks - that's $10 every Friday.

"That's rentals, lessons and lift tickets," said Josie Quillan, marketing director at Anthony Lakes, which is in its second winter of public ownership.

"We felt that this program was a perfect fit for the focus Leo Adler had during his lifetime for youth oriented, long-term healthy activities," John Wilson, chairman of the Anthony Lakes board of directors, said in a press release. "His focus of creating a lasting impact on Baker County citizens and the greater community."

The students signed up for all eight weeks, and the program continues through February. Most days average 150 to 180 kids, Quillan said.

"It's a great program - I'm impressed," said Doug Lien of Baker City, who comes as a chaperone along with his children, Hannah and Eli.

"And it's a whole day, usually enough to wear the kids out."

Lessons begin at 10:30 a.m. The youth are divided into groups according to ability, with about eight kids per instructor. The advanced skiers and snowboarders head to the lift and the big runs while the beginners stick to the rope tow and bunny hill.

Some instructors work with the groups, while others roam the bunny hill, offering tips one-on-one to the kids coming down the slope.

After the lesson, the kids are able to practice their new skills all afternoon before boarding the bus home.

For Hannah Lien, an eighth-grader, this is her second season on a snowboard. Her brother, Eli, is a fifth-grader and just learning to snowboard.

"It's fun," she said. "It takes practice - he's still working on his back edge and I'm working on my front edge."

Kyle Logsdon, a third-grader from Baker City, tried skis Friday.

"Last week I was snowboarding," he said.

His favorite part?

"All of it," he said with a smile.

Another program, which continues every Sunday through March, offers a free lift ticket, lesson and rental to all fifth- and sixth-graders.

For more information, visit the website www.anthonylakes.com, or call 541-856-3277.

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The Baker City Herald
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